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My new salmon colored Banana Republic khakis are sure to cause a reaction, which is my intention.

It’s Friday and I’m rocking the hater pants. My new salmon colored Banana Republic khakis are sure to cause a reaction, which is my intention. I’m a peacock by nature but I’m in a professional clothing rut (black t-shirt, jeans, Converse all-stars) due to the functional needs of being an art teacher. Today however I’m mixing it up for a cause.

We had an ugly Thursday in classes so I’ve decided to push the students a bit. I can hide from ugliness, sit at my desk at the back of the classroom, put on TED talks and ignore bad behavior or I can fight the hate, encourage escalation, embrace confrontation and turn it into a lesson. Guess which one I choose.

Hate will kill you. Hate will kill us. Hate is killing us. Sunday was 9/11, not only the worst single day in America’s history but the start of a worldwide hate storm that grows more and more each day. I’m not suggesting accepting terrorism while singing “We are the World” but the more we separate and criticize and focus on differences, the worse off we will be. The more we connect and support and promote healthy debate and empathy, the better off we will be. We all know this but if you look at politics today it’s all about picking sides. The last eight years of potential for change turned into paralysis and frustration. Hate won, hope lost.

And in two months, will we focus on issues? Do we care that one candidate thinks global warming is a hoax, wants to get rid of women’s rights and universal healthcare and supports an increase in guns and racial separation? Apparently not. Is America really going to vote for someone who is an equal opportunity offender of women, blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, parents of American servicemen, the disabled, veterans, Asians and any competitor who he comes in contact with? Really, that’s whom we want as a leader? No thank you.

Hate is easy, blame is easy, lashing out is easy, and fighting is easy. It takes a strong person to step back, think, then make a rational decision, knowing that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Punish the lawless? Absolutely, but also look at why they are lawless. If a kid has only gotten negative attention his whole life then of course he will continue to seek it until he learns differently.

My experiment fails, nobody makes fun of my pants (except me) and Friday is a great teaching day. Hate loses, at least for today.